|Chapter 4. The Teaching Process
In the teaching lecture, simple rather than complex words should be used whenever possible. Good newspapers offer examples of the effective use of simple words. Picturesque slang and free-and-easy colloquialisms, if they suit the subject, can add variety and vividness to a teaching lecture. The instructor should not, however, use substandard English. Errors in grammar and vulgarisms detract from an instructor’s dignity and insult the intelligence of the students.
If the subject matter includes technical terms, the instructor should clearly define each one so that no student is in doubt about its meaning. Whenever possible, the instructor should use specific rather than general words. For example, the specific words, “a leak in the fuel line” tell more than the general term “mechanical defect.”
Another way the instructor can add life to the lecture is to vary his or her tone of voice and pace of speaking. In addition, using sentences of different length helps, since consistent use of short sentences results in a choppy style. On the other hand, poorly constructed long sentences are difficult to follow and can easily become tangled. To ensure clarity and variety, the instructor should normally use sentences of short and medium length.
Types of Delivery
Depending on the requirements of any particular circumstances, a lecture is usually delivered in one of four ways:
The teaching lecture is probably best delivered in an extemporaneous manner. The instructor speaks from a mental or written outline, but does not read or memorize the material to be presented. Because the exact words to express an idea are spontaneous, the lecture is more personalized than one that is read or spoken from memory.
Since the instructor talks directly to the students, their reactions can be readily observed, and adjustments can be made based on their responses. The instructor has better control of the situation, can change the approach to meet any contingency, and can tailor each idea to suit the responses of the students. For example, if the instructor realizes from puzzled expressions that a number of students fail to grasp an idea, that point can be further elaborated until the reactions of the students indicate they understand. The extemporaneous presentation reflects the instructor’s personal enthusiasm and is more flexible than other methods. For these reasons, it is likely to hold the interest of the students.
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